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Comcast, Turner Set VOD Stack Pact

Comcast and Turner Broadcasting System are stoked for stacking.

The top U.S. cable operator has expanded its agreement with Turner for full current-season stacking rights for 15 TNT and TBS shows.

Full-season stacking — allowing video-on-demand customers to catch up on all of current-season episodes of certain series, instead of just a few — has been a major initiative for Comcast. This agreement builds on similar deals with cable networks and broadcasters including FX, USA Network, Fox, NBC, CBS and ABC.

Previously, Turner had stacked full-season episodes for TNT’s The Last Ship, Murder in the First and Falling Skies with Comcast. Beginning today (June 8) with the season-two premiere of Murder in the First, Turner will expand that relationship to include nine additional TNT shows (The Last Ship, Falling Skies, Proof, Cold Justice, Cold Justice Sex Crimes, Public Morals, The Librarians, Legends and Agent X) and five from TBS (American Dad, Clipped, America’s Next Weatherman, Angie Tribeca and The Detour).

“Last year, we were dipping our toes in the water,” Turner Content Distribution executive vice president of brand distribution Jennifer Mirgorod said. It’s clear that stacking helps build rather than fragment an audience, she added.

When just the past four episdoes of a series are available on VOD, viewership rises 20%, Comcast vice president of video strategy and analysis Steve Meyer said. When a series is fully stacked, viewership rises 40%.

Comcast is a longtime cheerleader for VOD, and its subscribers are heavy users of the platform: About 70% watch VOD every month and, with the new X1 platform, 85% watch VOD each month.

The Last Ship is up 30% in the ratings in the 18-49 demo (on a live-plus- 3-day basis) on average in Comcast households. For Murder in the First, 18-49 live-plus-3-day ratings averaged 40% higher through the season in Comcast households.

Mirgorod said Xfinity on Demand also provides another monetization option, via dynamic ad insertion. VOD ads are the same as on the linear feed for the first three days after air, but from there, ads can be refreshed throughout a show’s on-demand life.

“When you put these two together, it’s increasingly becoming a value proposition, not just for the customers, but the networks are realizing they can continue to have an ad model in this time-shifted world,” Meyer said.